In a story sure to bring a smile to Dan Slott‘s face, five people have been arrested in Japan for scanning and uploading pages from the manga One Piece before its release date.
Though One Piece is a comic about pirates — the kind that have eye patches and peg legs and say “arrrrrrrr,” — that didn’t cause authorities to take a softer view of these real-life pirates, who they say violated copyright laws by uploading the images to the web. According to a report from The Asahi Shimbun, the pirates allegedly earned almost $3.5 million in advertising revenue from the websites where they hosted pirated manga over a period of several years.
Ryoji Hottai and two unnamed associates were arrested in July for images from One Piece to one website, while Yo Uehara and one other were arrested, not just for posting images, but for allegedly posting “text and other content revealing One Piece stories” which they allegedly got from a store selling copies of Shonen Jump before its release date. In other words, they were apparently arrested for spoiling the comic.
“The manga was created by the author who devoted his heart and soul to it. We feel strong anger that the suspects published it in an inappropriate manner and earned revenue from it,” said a statement from publisher Shueisha Inc. “We hope that these arrests act as a warning against the continuing piracy epidemic and wrongful use of publications.”